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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Back on the horse - but honesty first



           So, today is Halloween, October 31, 2009. It also happens to be the seven-week mark since I called 911 to take me to the hospital. Since that time, so much has happened. For anyone that might be reading this blog for the first time, here is a quick recap of the situation: I’m a 32-year old professional athlete who contracted Guillain Barre Syndrome. This is an illness that attacks your immune and your peripheral nervous system. I have a 36-week pregnant wife and a two-year old to care for. I’ve been fortunate through all this to have the incredible support from friends and family. This has helped me to be very open to this experience and in turn, share it with others as a tool for personal learning.

             Day 42 - This past week was particularly interesting. Last Sunday my progress began to slightly regress. I felt a minor sensation loss in my finger tips, thumb, palms, in the soles of my feet and big toes. I admit – I was scared. The fear of starting all over again was a lot to contemplate. I had no doubt that I would, and could start again from scratch if I had to, but it was still very worrisome for me. We wondered if I had been over-doing it. This seemed the most likely since it is in my personality to go more than to rest. So, we slowed down, backed off on therapy a bit and I went in to see the Neurologist. She was only mildly worried as this can be normal but is repeating the tests to get an accurate measure. She was concerned about my anxiety levels and the amount of stress that this experience is causing due to our unique situation with Jenny being so pregnant.

             As a part of my learning I am going to share as honestly as I can about how I am feeling and what brought me down this week;
             In the immediate term I have lost a lot of what makes up my life. I spent 28 days in hospital. I lost the ability to walk and relearned how quickly things can change in an instant. I have not been able to spoil my pregnant wife like a pregnant wife should be spoiled. I can mostly take care of myself around the house but I don’t feel safe being alone with my son yet. I can’t run out and get donuts at midnight for Jenny. I cannot drive. I’m not able to just get up and leave the house, to blow off steam or escape or get a change of atmosphere. I cannot control what stress factors come into the home where I am mostly sequestered. I wake up with headaches most days. For the first time since I can remember, I cannot touch my toes and stretching is like a full game of Lacrosse. I have pain every day to varying degrees. I cannot work yet.  When I do try to work I have a hard time with the stress and feel anxious. I have to take medications every day and I don’t like it. I miss people and the world, even the strangers and especially the odd and unexpected things. I miss my friends and I hated to learn the tough lesson that some friends step up and others disappear when times are tough. Family is supremely important and should never be undervalued or taken for granted. It seems too, that everyone has their own shit and we often think ours smells the worse (mine only sort of stinks). The financial impact of this is not fully understood yet and it will get worse before it will get better. I am OK with all of this. It is my reality and it could be much worse. I am OK with all of this. I am OK with all of this. I am OK with all of this.

              Now for the positives and what I’ve learned:
              Luckily, I only have Guillain Barre Syndrome and I will heal from it and return to a full and normal life. My medical attention was incredible               and saved me from a far worse experience. My wife and family have been incredible and I appreciate their efforts since there is no text book for how you deal with something like this. My mom and dad have set an incredible example for how a parent should love their child. My recovery has been astonishing to this point and a few setbacks or plateaus are normal and are OK. I should not get ahead of myself and I should continue to use my healing time to be better in every way; physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. My home is safe, I am lucky to have it. Finances will work themselves out and the sacrifice of things and luxuries is small in exchange for my health. Staying         present, in control and clear minded is difficult but supremely important to health and good decision making. Meditation is an excellent tool. You can learn to accept pain and welcome it and it listens. I am filled with love and energy and need to focus it inward right now to heal myself so I can better share it with the world when I am back on my feet. I have all that I need and will need. My baby girl will be born soon and both she and Jennifer will be healthy and happy and our family will flourish.

              Thanks to all of you for providing me with this forum to express myself honestly, explore my feelings openly so I can heal. I feel much better after writing this all out.

              Love you all,
              JM




Monday, October 26, 2009

2 Steps Forward... One step Back

Scared but confident? Yesterday I started to lose the feeling in my feet and fingers again and it has gotten a little worse overnight. It is difficult to not be a little freaked out but I have to have confidence that I’ll be fine, just like the first time.

Jennifer and my Mom are worried, for obvious reasons, but my response to them was “if it comes back, we’ll just beat it again right? It’ll be no different than the first round”. I am not even sure that was how I was feeling inside but in reaction to their fear, that’s what came out of my mouth and I had no reason to not believe it myself. It is odd how sometimes you have to say something out loud to make it a little truer or to really understand it yourself.

For now this is where I am at

  • Feeling is reduced in soles of feet, big toe, pinky fingers and finger tips.
  • Headache is back
  • Balance is off a bit
  • Muscle soreness is about a 3/10
  • Full body fatigue is pretty significant

I’m going to leave it short and sweet for this morning. I will update again later either way, better or worse.

Jim Moss

Friday, October 23, 2009

Today’s Horoscope and an Update…





“Your next steps should be focused on long-term gain not short-term reward.

Lots of back-and-forth will be going on today -- sharing ideas has taken a front seat in your life, and it's rewarding to find yourself in such accord with so many people you respect. Another rewarding aspect of all these discussions is that they remind you of what you believe and what governs your life. You'll find these convictions to be strengthened over the next few days. Listen to opposing viewpoints with objectivity -- above all else, do not judge others!”

So my horoscope has been eerily poignant lately. Like a good fortune cookie, the semi-ambiguity of them allows me plenty of room for interpretation. Today’s horoscope however, seemed particularly fitting. In any case – it’s always good to give your mind some perspective!

As for an update….

  • ·          I am walking very well in short bursts, but my endurance is limited and after a long day, my gait becomes pretty sad and very slow. Glad to be able to move around as much as I can though.
  • ·          Unfortunately, for the most part I have been in constant pain – around a level 3-4 out of 10 at most times and this nasty headache seeps into my life most days as well.
  • ·          Had a two-hour massage this week (Thanks Najet!) and it was awesome – first time since September 19th that my pain was a 0/10 and it lasted 4 hours – did I mention awesome?!
  • ·          Able to do about 50-60% of my normal activity in my home environment but I, and likely anyone would, greatly underestimated how tiring it is just to do the “normal” things.
  • ·          Learned that resting does not include: getting up off my butt, going to the fridge, playing with Wyatt, taking Jackson for a pee, moving a box around the bedroom. A requirement of resting = getting horizontal.
  • ·        Fatigue seems to be an ever-present aspect of this and you might even detect it a bit in my tone today. I apologize, I feel it’s important to be honest with myself and others, but also trying hard to stay positive.
  • ·        Stretching is tiring as hell but feels great.
  • ·        I might be able to drive a car in 6-8 weeks? I hope?
  • ·        Have started to do some work again for STX – just a very little but it feels good and I miss it. I received a wonderful card in the mail yesterday from a great man that I work for and was reminded that I am very fortunate to have a second family, rooting for me in Baltimore. They have been more than supportive and It reconfirmed why I starting working there almost six years ago.
  • ·        Jennifer is 4.5 weeks away from our scheduled C-section delivery of Olivia James. She is doing really well. She’s tired and all of the normal stuff that goes along with being pregnant, including being sick of getting kicked in the ribs, but looks beautiful and thank you all for your concern about her and the new baby as well
  • ·        Went to Wyatt’s first-ever lacrosse practice with Coach Shaydon and his buddies: JD, Taylor, Dylan, Evan and Lauren. Cutest thing I ever did see – I’ll post some video ASAP


I think that is about it. I continue to receive 16 hours a week of therapy and it is at a slow but steady pace. I am beginning to accept the long-term nature of this kind of rehab, and am focusing mostly on getting as normal as possible by the time the new baby arrives.

I am grateful and thankful for my health, my family, my therapy, all of your support and a million other things. I am finding it is worth saying as often as possible to help me stay in the right frame of mind.

Have a great weekend,
Jim Moss

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

If you really want to be selfish…. Send someone flowers...

So… today’s blog is nice and light. Instead of smelling of Old Farts it reeks of fresh flowers.

Tomorrow is my Mom and Dad’s Anniversary. Congratulations Mom and Dad and I love you! So, my Dad being the good (and the very lonely) guy that he is these days since I borrowed mom four weeks ago to help us out while in the hospital, sent her some flowers. Impressive as he is, the flowers arrived two days early and surprised us all. They are a beautiful, fall bouquet of roses and sunflowers and they light up our living room as we speak. (See picture below.)

I’ve been getting up pretty early since all of this happened in my life, and just before my morning meditation and thankfulness reminder, I saw the flowers on the table. They reminded that I had been meaning to send flowers to my wife (8 1/2 months pregnant with a useless tit for a husband and a 2- year old to mind) to try and cheer her up and to tell her “thank you” for helping us to all get through this last month alive. So, I jumped onto the laptop and within five minutes I had ordered a bouquet of flowers for her that would be delivered before noon that same day!

I am a big flowers guy. They make people feel great, they are always a surprise, and they let someone know that you are thinking of them when they least expect it. There are what is considered the “floral occasions”, but those are the dates that expectation, either good or bad, is already in play (sorry ladies – a little zing.) Additionally, there are one-million reminders on every street corner, in every inbox and on every newspaper page in the country, so the guys who forget on Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day should be shot (zing score card…Women 1 – Men 1). In fact, those holidays are so predictable, that the floral companies should work with the government to send all women flowers like junk mail and take the money out of our man-taxes (liquor tax). In my opinion, the flowers that mean the most are the ones that show someone that you are thinking of them when they don’t know that you are. I should say, that anniversaries count in the “very important to remember category” because your anniversary, acknowledging the day you got married, is not to be taken lightly. So, good work Dad!! Not only were you two days early, showing solid preparation skills, you also eliminated the possibility of last-minute scrambling, or worse, total failure to accomplish your mission, resulting in serious disappointment. I also have to admit to all the wives, no, we may not automatically remember our anniversary, we are men, we have worked very hard to knock down the expectations on us, please don’t rob us of that. (Women 1 – Men 2)

Let me add this, flowers make the sender feel just as good as the receiver! Yes, it’s true – take it from me, the old adage that “it’s better to give then receive” is right on the money! First of all, you give yourself a high-five for having thought to do it. Then, you give yourself another high-five for figuring out how to do it online, and then there is the pleasure of waiting to hear from the person when they receive them. They always call right away and in every case, are happy you thought of them. It is like laying down a land mine filled with Hershey Kisses instead of shrapnel. The anticipation of their happiness is so worth it. And, if you are really smart, you’ll think to send it to the office or wherever they might be with their girlfriends, because they get doted on by the people around who think “that is so nice” which leads to a double-dose of feel good. You get triple points for surprising someone in a good way. They feel great, you feel great, all the witnesses of the good deed feel great – it really is a win/win all the way around. In fact, the only losers are the husbands of the other ladies in the office who have never (or at least not recently) thought to do it. (zing on the loser husbands making the final total Women 1 – Men 3 on the zing scorecard)

OK, so yes, I may be high-fiving myself a little but I’m still on the flower sending high! However, as I sign-off, I’ll leave you with this, Women are apparently way better than men according to today’s scorecard so go ahead and SEND THEM SOME FLOWERS! And, enjoy being selfish while you’re at it. You deserve to feel good about doing something nice for someone else. Don’t let money stop you. I’ll mail you the 10 bucks if I have to, just get up and do it! Send ‘em to your wife, mother, sister, ex-wife, whoever you want, they deserve it. And, ladies you can send them to your mom and sister too or even your girlfriends, you just don’t get any “man points” for doing it.

Also, please share this link on Facebook or Twitter (little button on top left) and let me know if you took my advice and how it went – I would love to hear about it. Men all over the country, you may love me or hate me but like an old coach of mine used to say…Screw’em if they can’t take a joke.

One last thing, FTD, Teleflora and 1800 Flowers – this one’s on the house!

Smelling like roses,

JM

Here are some deals I was able to quickly find online.

FTD.com through PayPal gets you 20% off

http://www.paypal.com or http:// www.ftd.com

Teleflora = 10 dollars off at the checkout

http://www.teleflora.com/?s=t&Srccode=PS_YH_S_GEN_cpon&ky=coupon+flower+online&promotion=PSYH10D

1800 Flowers = 15% OFF

http://ww4.1800flowers.com/collection.do?dataset=10476&cm_mmc=paidsearch-_-ysgeneric-_-yahoocomp15-_-15off&bannerBeacon=true

Monday, October 19, 2009

November 19th, 2009

It’s been a month… A month that was a blessing.

Holy crap – now that I say it, I’m realizing that it was a month ago that I said “I think I’m finally getting over this flu” and then WHAM! the Universe saw an opportunity to sucker-punch me with a lesson to the mid-section.

Earlier this morning, I read a profile post on Facebook that got me thinking. A good friend of mine wrote, “great to see my buddy up and walking around at my son’s POP Warner football game” (which they won 27-0 so good work Lucas) but what made me think was my response: “Now to work on running as fast as those kids!” I realized, that was something I could do a month ago today. What got me thinking was, is that really what is motivating me right now?

When we are kids we are so carefree. We can run and play all day without worry. We can make mistakes without heavy consequences. That’s what we are supposed to do. That’s how we learn at that age. The other thing that occurred to me was that maybe running that fast isn’t what I am supposed to be doing right now? Maybe what I needed was to slow down and to learn some lessons and take a different, more purposeful or meaningful look at whom I am, who I want to be and where I am headed. There is the chance that I would find I was happy with the current me and that would be fine. At least I stopped to check in. Potentially, I’ll find I am not on the “right track”. Maybe I need to identify the problem areas and find a back-road to get me closer to where I would rather be. I suppose that this is what I am doing right now and this blog is part of that process. Thanks for hearing me out. I’m learning as I go.

As I look back on my childhood, I feel that I made many of my mistakes because I was going too fast and didn’t stop to think. I didn’t make a habit of slowing down to make good decisions. I was always on the go –

  • · racing out the door to school – forgot my lunch - went hungry or had to borrow... again
  • · racing in from playing – got to run to hockey – race out the door – forgot my stick or skates
  • · caught up in verbal sparring at school – “won” – regretted what I said later - hurt someone's feelings
  • · ripped through my homework so I could go out and play – did a spotty job - bad grade - disappointed

I suppose that we have so much to learn that we can only learn so much at any one time! At that age some of the lessons have to be put off until later. We have to amass the experience in life to really see how some of the lessons apply before we can ever be in the correct frame of mind to make another step forward.

As for the slowing down a bit part: I remember realizing through my sports that as some of the older guys that I played with got slower, they seemed to play better! How could that be?! Faster is better right? Stronger is always better right? I guess not or those old farts couldn’t possibly be getting better? P.S. Old lacrosse farts – no disrespect, apparently I am one of you now! What I realized is that they were slowing down but that gave them the ability to stay present, think things through and make better decisions. They would recognize the benefits of good decisions but they’d also learned to avoid the pain of making bad decisions on the ice or the turf.

This week’s goal: Make an updated “life mission statement” that outlines who I want to be and then start to work backwards from there. Treat myself like a business plan and put the time into the details just like I would if I were hoping to start a new successful business. I plan to slow down and think this one through because if it were a business and I did a half-ass job, ignoring the details, would I really expect it to be a success?

Embracing being an old(er) fart that makes better plays,

JM

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom and an update…

Oct 18th – I have now moved back home from the hospital and all is moving along nicely. Mostly, I am just trying to get the hang of normal life again. My mom Connie, and Jennifer’s mother Sally, have stayed with us up until this point and the help has been appreciated more than they know. There is no question that we take our family for granted and it is as times like these, when we need them the most, that we get a reality check.

So, today of all days, I want to make sure that I say a big “Happy Birthday” to my mom!!! My mom has really been missing my Dad, her dog Duke and her daughter and her grandkids Ian, Cam and Eoin. She doesn’t say it too much (because she doesn’t want to burden me with it) but I know it. My Dad is at home in Port Elgin now, holding down the fort and he is missing her equally as much. Parents really do “whatever they have to do” when the $h&% hits the fan. Anyway, thank you very much to my family. If it is any consolation, I am taking notes for when my kids need me in the way that we have needed them recently. I hope that we live up to how selflessly supportive they have been over the last five weeks. Mom - Jenny, Wyatt and I will do our best to make your day special today, even if you are away from home!

As for me, here is the latest…

  • · I am almost back to normal with my walking at the start of the day, but as the day wears on me, I get a bit of a limp and hobble around as I tighten up and get sore. No cane or wheelchair though!!!
  • · We were approved for a home therapy service called Rehab Without Walls and with that comes 15 hours per week of occupational and physical therapy at the house.
  • · I still can’t drive but I went to the bank yesterday and then to Home Depot as part of my daily “get the hell out of the house” and it was fine. Although I’m moving at a slower pace and whooped by the time I get home, I am able to do what I need.
  • · Still having migraine headaches. I have had a day and a half without them, which was nice, but other than that it has been 12 days now. God of Migraine Headaches…. If you’re listening, I hear you and respect you now so CUT ME SOME SLACK WOULD YA?!!
  • · Sometime in the next couple of weeks I’ll be able to get back to working part-time from home. I need to get my stamina up and get through normal life first – but I will look forward to getting back to work. Although, I am starting to fear the mountain of catch up that will be waiting for me. Thanks to STX though for being so understanding through this situation
  • · I can pick up Wyatt and can play pretty well with him. I am actually using him for therapy – lifting him up like a 30 lb weight above my head. The laughter I get is the best therapy of all.
  • · I can make a meal and do some of the housework and the goal is to be able to do it all by the time Olivia comes on November 24th, 2009

I think that is all for now. I have some other posts that are almost ready to go up by I’m going to focus on my mom today for her birthday and then I’ll put up some other stuff tomorrow.

Thanks again for all of your support and the emails – I couldn’t have done it without you.

JM

video

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Leaving Rehab - Oct 14th, 2009

This is just a quick not with some of my feelings on the morning that I was to leave the Hospital. It was a roller coaster of a day but when I put the videos up of Wyatt welcoming me home, you'll understand as clearly as I did that Home is the only place to be.


video

Then there is this one... .so cute, what a great little kid! he had everyone in tears.
Check out the huge hugs! Those are a cure for anything.

video


Thanks All, I'll be updating again soon but the continued support is really amazing.
JM

A recent article for an update!

http://lacrosseinsidethegame.com/2009/10/13/a-story-of-courage-jim-moss/#comment-15183

Thanks Very Much to Gary Mark for this article and to the Boys at the Team canada Camp for thinking of their buddy.

I want you to imagine that you are a professional lacrosse player in top physical condition. You are near the top of your game, young, with a loving family, a job that involves working in an industry of the sport you love. Life is good.

Now I want you to imagine literally watching it all starting to potentially leave you. I want you to imagine your body acting in a way that leaves you with no clue of what is happening. All that you are certain of is that your body is not right and you cannot move your muscles. You are paralyzed and have no idea what is happening.

Jim Moss plays for the Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League, and works for STX lacrosse. The 32 year old, six foot, 215 pounder is a transition player on one of the league’s premier teams. He is also a proud Canadian and was a member of the 2007 team that won a World Championship in London, Ontario.

But just a few short weeks ago, Moss found himself in a position that he had never dreamed of. He was ultimately diagnosed with Guillain Barre Syndrome, a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system.

But he would not give in. Instead he decided to start blogging about it (http://sidewaysisforward.blogspot.com/), which I would encourage you all to visit and share your best wishes. It was suggested to me to do a story on Jim and his challenge. Earlier today, I sent him a message asking, and he graciously accepted.

This is a true lacrosse player, and I wish you the speediest recovery Jim. For what it is worth. Mammoth fans should expect to see him soon. These few short questions and Jim’s responses have been a clear indication to me that he will be back. An incredible story of courage.

Enjoy…..

GM: How did this all come about? (i.e., were you feeling differently, showing symptoms)?

JM: I had been sick with the flu for 5 days and was starting to get better but was still suffering from the worst full body pain that I have had. I mean I have never given birth before and I think I am pretty tough when it comes to pain but this was bad. I actually nearly asked the doctor for a shot of pain medication at one point. So just when I thought I was getting better, my arms started to swell up and my hands started to hurt even more. I had been to the doctors a couple of times and we had no idea what was up, he just thought I had some kind of a Virus.

GM: Where exactly were you when you realized this wasn’t normal and needed medical attention?

JM: It was Saturday Am and I had sent my wife and son off with one of our friends to go to Pebble Beach for the day. I was really not feeling that hot and thought I’d save my energy so I could possibly join them for dinner. Around noon, I got up off the couch after a couple episodes of Law and Order SVU, and I stumbled a couple of steps. I caught myself from falling by grabbing the kitchen counter. So I tried to walk and I was thinking to myself “walk… just walk” and I fully remember saying out loud “Quit F’ing around and walk” but I couldn’t really walk, my legs wouldn’t do what they were told. I thought I was having a seizure except it was equal on both sides, the disability. I have to admit it took about 3 minutes to get the 10-12 feet to the bathroom and I sat down on the toilet and had a bit of a cry. (Man tears, some of the worst kind of man tears) It was combination of fear and frustration. I thought I would get up and will myself to walk, but it wasn’t that easy. It took about 5 minutes to get back to the couch. I was getting pretty scared at that point so I called my wife but got no answer. I called my Mom back home in Ontario, and she said “don’t be a dip shit, call 911″ So I did.

GM: When you were informed that it was Guillain Barre Syndrome what went through your mind?

JM: “What the hell is Guillain Barre Syndrome?” When they explained it to me I actually felt relieved at first. It was mix because it could last as long as two years or I could walk out of there in 7 days. Right from the start though I viewed myself as lucky because it could have been way worse. I grew up with a neighbour who had CP and a girlfriend’s father who died of MS so I am familiar with some of the worst kinds of disease out there and was lucky to not have any of them.

GM: Describe where you are at now in your road to recovery.

JM: Well as I respond to these questions I am on day 24 from when I called 911. I can walk now on my own without a cane, and today I actually jogged about 20 yards. They are sending me home in the next couple of days and I’ll be participating in this rehab program called Rehab without walls; 3-5 hours a day I’ll have a couple of therapists come to the house and work on getting me back to full swing. Also, just today, I had a road trip to Safeway where I got to learn how tiring buying groceries can be when you are down and out, but I loved it. And tomorrow they are going to let me cook a meal (Chile Verde and black beans and rice) to learn how tough standing in the kitchen long enough to cook, will be.

GM: In your blog, you appear to be using a little humour to get through this. Is this something you try to do, or is it just your way of dealing with it.

JM: I think have always used humour to get through the day. People love to laugh and it is healthy so I think I have used it to let people know that I am OK – you could cut my legs off entirely and I’d likely cut a joke about felling like I could use to lose some more weight or something morbid like that. I actually spent some time with one therapist who said that “I worry too much about making sure everyone else is OK and that right now I need to really focus on me and getting better.” I told her that “I needed to know that everyone was OK and knew I was OK so that I could relax and focus on getting better.” She said “exactly”. So I think that is where the humour comes from; letting people know I’m OK and lifting the mood to keep it positive and not get stuck dwelling on how much this might suck at times. People were worried about me and they would say this negative stuff and ask questions about negative things so I would lighten the mood with a joke to try and get back on the positive track. Negativity has no place in a recovery process. You have to convince every part of your body that you are just absolutely going to get better and that’s it.

GM: As with everyone, that goes through very trying times, there must be a few folks that you want to acknowledge for their support in helping you get to where you are.

JM: My wife (Jennifer) has been incredible. She is 33 weeks pregnant and we have a 2 year old son, Wyatt, and she has been a real rock star and totally selfless. This was supposed to be that time where I treat her like a total princess and put her on a pedestal but instead I couldn’t even walk to the bathroom. My family has also been incredible. My mom, dad and sister flew down immediately as well as Jennifer’s Parents Doug and Sally. We were literally in the middle of moving from one house to another so there was a ton of work still to do and I was useless. After that I had a few friends who really stepped up, Steve Maroni and Darren O’Donnel who both work for the SJ Sharks have been really awesome and Gary Rosyski and Shaydon Santos and his wife Leah have been great as well. I have been very lucky to have the doctors and therapists I did as well. They have all been incredibly supportive and helpful. And the number of lacrosse fans and players that reached out even with just a couple of quick words of encouragement was really incredible.

GM: I read you are targeting to be ready for opening day of the NLL season. Is that still a goal?

JM: It might be a little lofty, but I do hope to at least be able to fly there and be there for it, after that, it is a long season and the goal would be to get back in time to be in full swing for playoffs. I missed last season after having a total reconstruction of my shoulder, and being out of the picture has cost me a spot at Team Canada tryouts. I feel like people had started to count me down and out before this even happened. I kind of feel like those attitudes must have been a reflection on me going in and so I am dedicated to changing that perception. I must have been doing something that misrepresented who I really am or who I want to be anyways. Whoever think s I’m over the hill or can’t get back is in for a surprise.

GM: What is it about this challenge you feel has either changed you or affected you the most?

JM: Perspective and a reminder of the value of not only life but of our faculties. I had them taken away temporarily. Oddly, I always knew I would be OK but was unsure how much function I would get back. I feel like I had a shot fired across my bow. I had a dream the night before this happened that I was sitting at a bar and had a chat with the Devil. I don’t remember what he said but I remember feeling like I understood that whatever it was it was serious and he had the power to do with me as he wanted. I guess he just wanted to warn me to feel lucky for all that I have, the people in my life, my abilities, everything, don’t waste it. Sounds cheesy but it really happened.

As I mentioned above, please visit Jim’s blog and pass along your wishes. This will go a long way in supporting him in getting back to where he needs to be.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Lions and the Antelope...

The Lions and the Antelope…

October 12th, Day 24 in the Mission Oaks Hospital.

OK, back to the deep / self discovery type thoughts. I want you to imagine for a minute that you are watching the Discovery Channel. It’s the episode where a pack of lions are stalking a herd of antelope. Now Imagine, a weathered voice with a thick British accent explaining the following;

“The pack of lions sits in prey in the long grass, evaluating the herd of antelope, looking for the weakest antelope, the low hanging fruit. They are spread out and seem to be fully alert to each other’s whereabouts. Once they have identified the weakest of the antelope – on the perimeter of the herd they isolate their prey. The Lions strike and quickly hit top speed. The herd of antelopes take to flight and move almost as one. Through the long grass and across the plains, they are desperate to escape the certain doom that awaits them if captured by the lions. The race is on. Time has taught the antelope that the lions can only sustain top speed for a short distance. If they can just run a little further, a little longer, they can avoid being the lion’s lunch”

Could you hear the accent? It was there right! To return to an early and common metaphor of good vs. evil / pain vs. pleasure, it is easy boil this situation down to extract the example that is useful to daily life. The lions represent the bad guys or evil (if you’re an antelope) and the antelope are the good guys. The lions represent the ultimate pain of death to one or a couple of the antelope. Pleasure equals escape to safety once one of your herd has been caught and it wasn’t you.

Using those assumptions let’s look deeper at the herd of antelope. Imagine that there are 50 antelope. They break in to escape mode when the most alert, maybe only one or a few of them, realize that they are being hunted and therefore register the danger of the situation. They then respond by sprinting. The following, say 6-10 antelope, respond by following the first antelope’s lead and subsequently break in to a run themselves. Finally, the rest of the pack right down to least alert, follow suit and the chase is on. The chase will ensue with the most focused and the most alert leading the herd of antelopes through the plains until one has been caught and the lions are content with the meal they are about to eat.

So, my questions to you are –

Do you want to be the alert, prepared antelope?

Do you want to be the antelope that listens to the environment and to its instincts and is ready to respond at any time?

Once you are on the run with the pack, do you want to be in the group of leaders directing the herd?

*Remember that when this small group decide to change direction, the decision makers become the leading edge of the herd while the slower or less alert antelope take longer to respond, and are left hanging at the back or on the periphery of the herd.

Are you willing to accept the short term pain of running a little further to reach the long term pleasure of safety and another meal, another day, another race?

As to not run on too long, I’ll summarize a couple of points that I plan to expand on later.
1. Listen to your body. Listen to your instincts. Be aware of what is going on around you. Typically we “know” when something feels off, or we are in trouble or conversely when we are on the right track.
2. Once you recognize something in the environment, trust it. We were given “spidey senses” as a gift to protect us and give us the advantage; they are drawing on thousands of years of experience and evolution. Don’t let the world convince you to let them go to sleep.
3. When you find yourself in a race (and if you don’t already know, you are in the race every day) be ready to be in the leading edge. If you are not aware or in touch with your life, you are the trailing edge and you’ll become the low hanging fruit for the lions.
4. Metaphorically speaking, sometime its flight and other times it fight. Are you prepared to be at your best when you have to be?
5. There are always “lions” lurking. (People or situations that are looking to take something from you or affect you in negative way.) Sometimes we put ourselves in harm’s way and usually because we have wandered off the path towards our goals or we have placed our trust in the wrong people’s hands and allowed them to steer us off course and away from our goals.
6. Set Goals. The antelope that had the clearest awareness of it’s surroundings, had the highest chance of survival and in this case were the most likely to achieve their goal. The universe or the angels or anyone else for that matter, cannot help you get where you are going if you don’t have a destination in mind for yourself.

Thanks, more to come. Please comment and pass this blog along to others that you think will enjoy it.

JM

Sunday, October 11, 2009

video

So here is the latest video demonstrating how much improvement I / we have made and in large part due to the tremendous support that we have received. Apparently what I have been utilizing is called Quantum Healing and involves the thousands of hands of those people who have sent their support, lifting me and supporting me to lighten the load of learning to walk again. Just look what 7 days can do in a persons life. If I can do this, just think of what you can do or accomplish in your own life in 7 days if you set your mind to it.

Here is the week before so you can see the difference a week can make in your life. Believe it!!!

video

Update on progress, hold the deep thoughts......

Sunday, October 10th, 2009


So I haven’t stopped thinking about the “deep” stuff but I thought I’d give a nice simple update outlining how much improvement I have made over the past couple of days.


(I’ll write this at the top of the page in case you don’t make it all the way to the bottom….
Please send me your current phone numbers, email and mailing addresses as I am going to spend some time updating my contacts this week. jimm@stx.com. Thanks)


Friday
  1. Started the day with a trip home!!! To check things out and see if any changes to layout etc need to be made to accommodate me in the house.
    1. Really exciting and wonderful to walk through my own front door but really hard to have Wyatt say “ No Daddy I no want you go, No Daddy”
    2. Good news is that the new apartment is perfect for my present situation
    3. Can’t wait to sleep in my own bed, with Jenny and start getting better sleep
  2. Worked a lot on balance and was able to balance myself on a BOSU ball alone, started very shaky but with a lot of concentration was able to quiet the muscles
  3. Walked for 5 minutes on the treadmill at 1.6 mph trying to improve cadence
  4. Did some “squats” down to almost 45 degrees with no support
  5. Walked to therapy without a cane (75 feet) and then kicked a soccer ball back to my room at the end of the day with no cane.
  6. Got my butt handed to me in the card game UNO by one of the other patients
  7. Nerve and Muscle pain is like I was working out full tilt getting ready for the season
  8. Woke up at 5 AM for the second day with a low level migraine headache that we couldn’t beat with meds, blood pressure as high as 170 over 108 (needs work)


Saturday
  1. Back on the treadmill, this time for 6 minutes, and got going as fast as 2.0 mph
  2. Woke up again with Migraine, third day in a row, going to try some new meds to beat it
  3. Body is very sore again, low back, neck and all stops in between.
    1. Spent a lot of therapy time on trying to fix back and neck
    2. Hips and “girdle” seem to fall out of whack and can’t stay in tune all of the muscles learning to operate together again
    3. Who thought walking was so hard on the old body?!
  4. Missing the UNC vs. Brown Game today which is sad but soon, would have been too much commotion likely
  5. In the afternoon we did almost a full lap around the building, about 200 meters
    1. Walking speed is almost normal for short bursts in the hallway
    2. Still need to get endurance up but they say it will come back quickly now
    3. Graduated to no cane!!!! And was given permission to operate in my hospital room with no supervision. Like a 13 year old!!! Woo Hoooo
    4. Earned the freedom to walk around the floor with no nurse or therapist as long as Jennifer or my Mom are here
  6. BP topped out at 186 over 112 at one point today – good bye salty and fried foods. Time to apply the “short term pain (sacrifice) = long term pleasure (health)” theory on the food front ( starting first thing tomorrow, lol)

  7. Coming up...
  8. Sunday is a day of rest around here, but I’m not resting, try to walk as much as I can with Jennifer and My Mom, rip some push-ups and do some ab work
    1. Will try to get some video of walking to update Facebook and the kids back home
  9. I have my tentative DD (discharge date) for October 15th – This Thursday!!!!!
    1. Maybe even earlier with all of the gains of the past couple days
  10. Trip to one of my favorite places, the grocery store, on Monday learn how to function in that environment and get groceries to cook a meal.
  11. Tuesday I get to cook a meal for the staff. Is it conceited to say that I miss my own cooking? Have to decide what to make?
  12. Wednesday will be spent getting ready to move home Thursday.
  13. They are convinced they get me into a very light jog for 10 – 20 yards by Thursday!
  14. Drop five LBS through diet control and increased energy spend.
  15. DID I MENTION MOVE HOME ON THURSDAY!!!!! WOOOOHOOOO


Thanks you so much to everyone for the continued support and for the cards and gifts that we have received. Very special thanks to Ryan, Kristin, Sahr and Kelly (my therapists) they have been so incredible.


Love you all,
Jim

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pleasure and Pain and Thank you Jennifer

Thursday October 8th, 2009
Day 20 Mission Oaks Rehabilitation Center, Los Gatos, CA

Good and Bad, Right and Wrong, Pleasure and Pain

Drawing on the eternal but undeniably true cliché of Good vs. Evil, I find myself seeing the importance of opposing forces in my every day lately.

In my rehabilitation I find the truth in the basic human instinct to seek pleasure and to avoid pain. Each day I recognize short term hardships and work to overcome them and see them as temporary in a larger effort to find pleasure. Finding pleasure in the freedom of walking on my own again? Pleasure in the ability to be ability to hold our soon to be newborn and not worry that I might fall with her in my arms. In the recognition that these things would be considered pleasurable I cannot avoid the understanding of how painful it could be to not have them. I picture a graph with two opposing wave lengths where the more pleasurable something is, conversely there should be an absence of pain at the same point. The more pleasure the greater also is the absence of pain, or so it should be at least. And so, because, I place a high value on these pleasures I can’t help but work towards them. If I contemplate them and can visualize the pleasure that they would create for me, I will gravitate towards them. If I were to get caught up in the short term pain of my current hardship or in the daily regime of my therapy and the pain that it causes my muscles and nerves, or in the discomfort of being away from my family, my natural tendency would be to avoid doing those things that cause me discomfort. So it is imperative to have goals that represent a greater net positive than the sum of all the pain that has to be endured to get there.

What a lesson!? Its applications are everywhere, all of the time and in everything. All of the time we lose perspective, we get focused on the unimportant; we place incorrect or illogical value on things. We lose our focus. My three weeks in hospital have given me back focus. I need to reevaluate what I was shooting for in life, what I have to offer, how lucky I am, and then refocus on some short, medium and long term goals that may represent short term discomfort but will undoubtedly lead me and my family and friends toward a greater good. Good decisions, made with good and cognizant intention.

As we go along, I realize that we are victim to the paradigms and patterns that we create in our lives. As we get older we have that feeling that time is flying by. It’s actually not going any faster we are just not stopping to see each second or minute because we model so many days to follow the pattern of previous or upcoming days. We get into a rhythm, good and bad. It’s like when you snap out of a daydream while driving and think to yourself, how long have I been driving and not paying attention? We need to decide to make good decisions and to own each minute in the day. We also need to value those minutes and make sure we aren’t just giving them away.

It really is all about good decision making. Learning to trust the little voice in your head that tells you if you are right or wrong. Net pleasure vs net pain. Each Good decision that we make is compounded by also representing the benefit of not having made a bad decision, not having had to endure the pain that a worse decision might have caused as a result. So the benefit of the good, plus the absence of the potential bad. Or when we make a bad decision we not only suffer the consequences of the poor decision we also miss out on how me might have benefited from the good decision. Double Whammy!

OK so I’m starting to run on and this will take some more time to think about and find applications for and to hone, but let me finish by saying one thing. We don’t get to chose the family we are born to, so I am just lucky to have been born into mine. They have been incredible. We do get to choose our mate and so I am giving myself a high five because my choice has been validated throughout this turmoil as Jennifer has been all any husband could ever want from their spouse in a time of need. I love you, you are the best decision I ever made and the best bad decision that I didn’t make, ever.

JM

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Update on Where I am at as of Oct 6th, 2009

Hi All,

Today is Day 18 since being admitted to the hospital with Guillain Barre Syndrome. It has been a bumpy road but we seem to be on the comeback side of it. Slow and focused is the pace. I am still living at the Mission Oaks Rehabilitation hospital. The people have been great, the facility and the treatment is outstanding and the food sucks! Oh and the bed is pretty brutal too but they give me sleeping meds so I don’t notice to badly until the mornings.

In the past few days….
• I have walked on my own with a lot of help and no cane for about 10 yards
• Walked with a cane but on my own otherwise for about 25 yards at a time – 2 x a day but I am exhausted by the end of it to the point where I have to return to bed for a bit
• Walked up 3 pretend stairs with the use of two railings
• Learned how to sit and stand
• Stood on my own for as long as 5 minutes while holding something to support my weight
• Psychologically struggling with commotion and having some increased anxiety but it seems to be in line with the level of stress that this type of event should cause. Otherwise very positive and thankful.
• Suffering from “sea sickness” after expending energy or physically exerting myself

Coming up on the horizon…..
• We have a tentative Discharge date of October 15th, 2009
o We are hopeful that I will be able to operate semi self sufficiently meaning do most in home functions mostly on my home or with some assistance by
o Still we need a cane for some functions in the house and at minimum when operating outside of the home
o Will need a wheelchair to do any activity outside of the home that requires more than 30 minutes of standing or 1000 feet of walking – that should likely last for about 4-6 weeks from the discharge date
• Planning a trip to the Grocery store to understand how difficult regular daily activities really are but also to get some groceries to practice preparing a meal – you know me!
• Hopefully getting out of here on Thursday night for my first reward of going to a sharks game – the home opener
• Hopeful to Confident that I will still regain all functions to 100%
• Confident that I will regain at least 90% of the “normal” abilities of someone my age
• Confident that I can return to athletics at some level
• Limited expectation about high level performance although it is still very much a possibility we are trying to focus on more tangible short term goals

As for how we are doing as a family, we couldn’t be better! Hah LOL!!! I mean to say we are as good or better than you could expect for having to go through this. Jennifer has been a rock star. My parents and Sister and Doug and Sally all went above and beyond and have been incredible. The family and friend support has been awesome and we use it for buoyancy all of the time to help us keep above water.

We are extremely thankful for a long list of things that I won’t bore you with, but know that you if you are reading this, you just made the list! We are so very thankful and aware that this will only make us stronger and that there are positives that we can see already and many more lessons to come as we continue on.

Thanks so much for the continued support,
Jim, Jenny, Wyatt, Jackson and soon to be Olivia James Moss

Daily inspiration from the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment

Good Morning James,

Each day we plant the seeds of our future happiness. What is experienced now is due to past causes. Be a wise spiritual farmer. Till the ground of mind and consciousness and plant good seeds.

--Ellen Grace O'Brian

I thought this was appropriate as I remodel the paradigms of life and set new patterns to live by and for success.

JM

Monday, October 5, 2009

The "Comeback Trail" is Never Downhill

In the history of the mankind, there has never been a comeback trail that was downhill. Why should mine be any different?

15 steps = 5.7 miles

This morning I am challenging myself to accomplish 15 steps with moderate help from my Physical Therapist and no walking device (cane or crutches). It is Monday AM October 5th, 2009 all of my friends and family are headed off to work like any other Monday. A couple of my friends are in a charity golf tournament today in Los Gatos. Another friend was flying to Disneyland with her daughter to visit what they call the greatest place on Earth. I thought they were referring to the hallway just outside my door as that is the place that I am relearning to walk and my get my much desired freedom back.

Mondays are for Moaning and Groaning, shaking off the weekend, and looking up hill at the week ahead of us. I’m not taking that approach today. How possibly could groaning about it make the week ahead of me any better?

I have the most beautiful view out of my window at the rehab hospital (I'll try to get a picture to post). Accompanying that beauty is a Vente Double shot of irony, dry. I have an incredible view of the Los Gatos Mountains (which I am thankful for), however, it is that same mountain that just three and a half weeks ago I would hike to burn off some pounds and get ready for the upcoming Lacrosse season. 5.7 miles total trail 3.0 up and 2.7 down the back side, 40 minutes of hard but fun work. A good sweat. About 10-12 songs worth of I pod time. A ton of great fresh air, And a little bit of sunshine on the skin to go with it.

There will be no hiking today. Well maybe? I will be hiking my ass out of this wheelchair and into the hall for my work out! No sunshine, fluorescent lights. No fresh air, just hospital smell. No I pod, just gentle reminders to balance, breath, relax etc. from my incredible rehabilitation staff. No mountains, just a mountain of work.

They say there are about 2000 steps in a mile, therefore, I would normally walk about 11400 steps or so on my hikes up the Mountain. So each proud, difficult, wobbly step this morning will be the equivalent of 760 steps 3 weeks ago.

It's all relative.

Love you all,
JM

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Getting started, working sideways and hopefully forward...

So this is day 1, of blogging since discovering that I have Guillain Barre Syndrome and have been in hospital for 16 days.

Going to get everything setup and then move forward with some thoughts and questions for space and anyone who stumbles onto this.

The past few weeks have been trying, educational and totally unimaginable but ultimately positive and filled with hope, support and perspective. No matter what is going on in my body and mind right now, we are going to make this a positive experience and find and maximize the personal growth that we are being offered.

Stay tuned and please feel free to comment.

I am Thankful for my health, my family, my friends, good food and excellent healthcare.

JM